The Monsters and the Critics and Other essays
During his time as a professor at the University of Oxford Tolkien studied Anglo-Saxon. One of the Anglo-Saxon pieces of literature he studied is the epic poem Beowulf, about which he wrote essays such as The Monsters and the Critics. Interesting parallels can be found between The Hobbit and Beowulf.

The plots of the two stories are very similar. In both of them a party of 13 sets out to seek satisfaction for a crime committed by a dragon. Both parties contain a thief, which in The Hobbit is Bilbo, who steals a cup from the sleeping dragon's hoard by using a secret passage. Both dragons then awake from their deep slumber and cause terror and destruction. Both dragons are well protected by their armour, a natural one in Beowulf and one made of gold and diamonds in The Hobbit, but finally they are killed. Both stories end or almost end with a fight with a dragon.